Using Patient Feedback to Inform Quality Improvement

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<p>Patient survey data can be valuable in planning quality improvement initiatives, but only if physician practices, hospitals, and other providers understand how to use this information effectively.<br><br>In interviews with medical professionals taking part in a Minnesota quality improvement collaborative, former Harkness Fellow Elizabeth Davies, Ph.D., and Harvard Medical School researcher Paul D. Cleary, Ph.D., uncovered numerous barriers to the effective use of patient survey data. As reported in the Fund-supported study, <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=20698&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D355711%26%23doc355711">Hearing the Patient's Voice? Factors Affecting the Use of Patient Survey Data in Quality Improvement</a> (<em>Quality & Safety in Health Care</em>), these include the lack of a quality improvement infrastructure, competing pressures created by financial priorities, skeptical or defensive attitudes of staff, and long delays from data collection to analysis and feedback.<br><br>The researchers say it's important to neither dismiss patients' concerns nor blame individual clinicians. In the end, surveys themselves can't indicate what needs to be done--health care organizations must develop cultures that support quality improvement and patient-centered care.</p>